Alumni Researchers

Former members of the Tvärminne Benthic Ecology Team

Charlotte Angove

PhD Student at TZS


When asked what makes the northern Baltic Sea special, you might think about the vast expanses of ice that can transform the sea during the winter. But what you might not think so much about, is that in the summer parts of the archipelagos are transformed underwater by vibrant plant meadows. These meadows are also special to the northern Baltic because they are highly diverse with a unique assembly of plant species. We can use these meadows to ask questions that would be difficult to answer elsewhere. I investigate how the characteristics of plants affect ecosystem processes such as primary production and nutrient cycling, from individual to community scale. By doing this, we can better understand the underlying mechanisms which direct the fate of ecosystem processes in aquatic plant communities.

Current research project:

  • Relationships between plant traits and ecosystem processes along environmental gradients in temperate plant communities. PI: Camilla Gustafsson. Funded by Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation, (01.01.2015-31.12.2018).

Charlotte's profile in ORCID.

Karl Attard

Postdoctoral Researcher at TZS, Guest Researcher at Uni. Southern Denmark

My research explores the productivity of coastal waters and the factors that drive fundamental ecosystem processes such as primary productivity and respiration. Seafloor habitats are a key focus of my work, because they represent hotspots of biodiversity and productivity within the coastal zone but they remain poorly studied. Filling in this knowledge gap requires a novel interdisciplinary approach that investigates productivity rates in combination with other factors of influence such as sunlight and nutrient availability, hydrodynamics, and biodiversity. The success of this work is tightly linked to the use of new and evolving technologies such as Aquatic Eddy Covariance and microsensor techniques.

Current research projects:

  • The Breathing Seascape: resolving ecosystem metabolism and habitat-function relationships across coastal habitats. PI Prof Alf Norkko. Academy of Finland Project (01.09.2016 - 31.08.2020).
  • Sediment resuspension: an understudied key factor for biogeochemical functioning of coastal habitats. (PI Prof. Ronnie N. Glud. Funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research (01.01.2018 - 31.12.2019).

Karl’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Karl’s profile in Google Scholar.

Eva Ehrnsten

PhD student at TZS and Baltic Sea Centre, Stockholm University


My main interests are coastal ecology and management. I study ecosystem functions in the coastal zone, focusing on Baltic Sea benthic invertebrate animals and plants. I also look at how the joint effects of climate change and human-induced pressures such as nutrient loads might change the functioning of the benthic system and the ecosystem services it provides through model simulations.


Current research project:

  • BONUS BALTICAPP – Well-being from the Baltic Sea—applications combining natural science and economics. Funded jointly by the EU and the Academy of Finland (2015-2018).

Eva's profile in Google Scholar.

Johanna Gammal

Researcher at TZS

I am investigating the role of benthic communities for ecosystem functioning. I am especially interested in how the benthic fauna is affecting the nutrient retention and transformation in varying coastal habitats. The coastal zone is very important because it provides us with many ecosystem services and maintains many important ecosystem processes. But with the ongoing eutrophication and threat of increasing hypoxia these ecosystems may be changed or impaired. For example, what happens to the functions and, on a larger scale, to ecosystem services if we lose or get changed fauna communities?

Current research project:

  • BONUS COCOA - Nutrient cocktail in coastal zones of the Baltic Sea – improving understanding of the transformation and retention of nutrients and organic matter in the coastal zone. Funded jointly by the EU and the Academy of Finland (2014-2017).

Johanna’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Johanna’s profile in Google Scholar.

Henri Jokinen

PhD student at TZS

I am investigating the reasons behind a recent decline of flounders at the Finnish coast. Flounders are the most common flatfishes in the Baltic Sea. They are marine benthivorous fishes and important fishery targets. I am especially interested in the mechanisms controlling population/stock variability of flounders in the northern Baltic Sea. Recent findings have revealed that the flounders in the northern Baltic Sea in fact consist of two distinct species, constituting mixed stocks with temporally and spatially shifting dominance ratios. These findings do not only change the basis for stock assessments, management and conservation of Baltic flounders, but also profoundly change how we understand the ecology of the mixed populations and how we should study these fishes and their stock dynamics now and in the future. 

Current research projects: 

  • Population dynamics and characteristics: decline of flounder in the northern Baltic Sea. Past funding Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation, Svenska kulturfonden, Oskar Öflunds stiftelse, Waldemar von Frenckells stiftelse, and Suomen Luonnonsuojelun säätiö.
  • Evolutionary and conservation genomics of rapid ecological speciation in the Baltic Sea. Collaborator; PI Dr. Paolo Momigliano. Funding: Finnish Cultural Foundation (2018), Academy of Finland (9/2018–2021).

Henri’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Henri's profile in ResearchGate.

Rebecca Gladstone-Gallagher

Post-doctoral rearcher at University of Auckland and TZS.

I am a field ecologist and I am interested in biodiversity and ecosystem function in coastal soft-sediment, seagrass, and mangrove ecosystems. My current research focus is on the traits that make seafloor ecosystems resilient to human disturbances. Coastal marine ecosystems are some of the most impacted by multiple human activities, and my research aims to understand how different elements of biodiversity protect against the loss of ecosystem function under human disturbances in the coastal environment. Specifically, I am interested in teasing apart the elements of biodiversity that make seafloor macrofaunal communities resilient to human disturbances that occur at different spatial and temporal scales. My research aims to find practical ways to assess vulnerability of coastal marine ecosystems to future Anthropogenic pressures and disturbances.

Current research projects:

  • Assessing the role of biodiversity in maintaining coastal ecosystem health in the Anthropocene (Funded by: Rutherford Foundation, and Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation)

On-going projects involved:

  • Tipping points in coastal marine ecosystems (Funded by: New Zealand National Science Challenge, Sustainable Seas Tipping Points project; Project leader: Prof Simon Thrush)
  • Biophysical interactions in soft-sediments: effects of sediment nutrient enrichment on sediment stability

Rebecca’s profile at google scholar.


Iván Franco Rodil

Researcher at TZS, University of Helsinki and the Baltic Bridge, Stockholm University

My research focuses on exploring the role of key coastal habitats (e.g. bladder-wrack and blue mussel rocky beds, seagrass and bare soft-sediments) in the biodiversity and ecosystem functioning of the Baltic Sea. We are using the Aquatic Eddy Covariance as a cutting-edge way to quantify habitat-function relationships across key coastal habitats. I am also interested in the effects of increasing accumulations of drifting macroalgal detritus on the functioning of coastal habitats. I study how detritus source dynamics and characteristics might affect benthic communities, oxygen dynamics and the composition of carbon in coastal areas affected by eutrophication and influenced by large drifting accumulations.

Current research projects:

  • The Breathing Seascape: resolving ecosystem metabolism and habitat-function relationships across coastal habitats. Collaborator. PI Prof. Alf Norkko. Funded by Academy of Finland (01.09.16–31.08.20).
  • Baltic Sea eutrophication: the effects of increasing accumulations of drifting algal detritus on the functioning of shallow coastal habitats. PI. Funded by Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation. (01.01.2017–31.12.2020).

Iván’s profile in the University of Helsinki research portal and Iván’s profile in Google Scholar.